USB 3.0 Versus Thunderbolt
Because of their platform affiliations, it seems like USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt were born natural enemies. As it stands, the PC camp is all about SuperSpeed USB 3.0 while Apple is loyal to fostering the expansion of Thunderbolt. The question everyone is demanding to know is, which interface is superior? The answer is not so straightforward. While yes, Thunderbolt is faster, there are additional factors to consider. There’s a reason USB 3.0 flash drives have steadily surfaced on the market when Thunderbolt flash drives have yet to appear.
To help you better understand the up-and-coming interfaces that will affect your computer usage, we’ve compiled a fairly simple list below to reveal the differences between USB 3.0 versus Thunderbolt.
|Device Power||5 watts||10 watts|
|Size of Connector||11.5mm x 4.5mm||8.3mm x 5.4mm|
|Cable Circuitry||8 wires||5 wires|
|Download Speed of HD Movie||60-75 seconds||30 seconds|
|Cost of 2 Meter Cable||$4||$50|
|Support||PC market||Apple, Sony|
|Compatibility||Backward compatible with USB 2.0 (USB 2.0 devices will still operate at 2.0 speeds).||Compatible with PCIe and DisplayPort. Need cable adapter for existing DisplayPort peripherals.|
Through sheer cost alone, the SuperSpeed interface gives you the most for your dollar. A number of solid peripherals have emerged from USB 3.0 flash drives to external hard drives, working with multiple configurations. Additionally, USB 3.0 is more than sufficient for the average consumers’ daily demands, and it comes without the higher Thunderbolt price tag.
Thunderbolt has an important role though. It can connect workstations with a single cable as well as improve video and audio applications with faster throughput. As a result, the interface’s external storage devices exceed the speeds of what a PC can offer. Thunderbolt offerings are still so limited now, that only time will tell where consumer demand will sway. In the meantime, both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 will share the spotlight.
Thunderbolt versus USB 3.0—which side of the argument do you fall toward? Weigh in below.